In 1994, the military science fiction feature film Stargate was released, directed by Roland Emmerich and co-written by Emmerich and Dean Devlin. The film lays the foundation for all the Stargate productions that come after it, by explaining the notion, function, and history of the Stargate.
Egyptologist and linguist Daniel Jackson, Ph.D. is invited by Catherine Langford to translate Egyptian hieroglyphs on cover stones that her father had unearthed in Giza, Egypt in 1928. Jackson is taken to a U.S. Air Force installation, and told the project is classified information by its commander Special Operations Colonel Jack O'Neil. Jackson determines that the hieroglyphs refer to a "stargate" which uses constellations as spatial coordinates. On this revelation, Jackson is shown that the base has this Stargate, also discovered by Langford's father. They use Jackson's coordinates to align the Stargate's metal ring with markings along its outside, and once all seven are locked in, a wormhole opens, connecting the Stargate with a distant planet. Jackson joins O'Neil and other soldiers as they pass through the wormhole, though expresses concern at a nuclear bomb they brought as a last resort.
On the arid desert planet, they find themselves in a pyramid-like structure. Jackson locates the Stargate and its controls, but lacks the coordinates to return home. O'Neil orders some men to stay behind to guard the Stargate. Nearby, they discover a tribe of humans working to mine a strange mineral from the planet. Jackson is able to communicate with them as they speak a variation of Ancient Egyptian, and finds the tribe sees them as emissaries of their god Ra (Jaye Davidson). The tribe's chieftain Kasuf presents Jackson with his daughter Sha'uri as a gift, and though Jackson initially refuses her, he becomes romantically attached to her. O'Neil befriends the teenaged boy Skaara and his friends, in part because Skaara reminds him of his long-deceased son. Through hidden markings and discussions with the tribe, Jackson learns that Ra is an alien being who had come to Earth during the Ancient Egyptian period, looking to possess human bodies to extend his own life. Ra enslaved these humans and brought some to this planet through the Stargate to mine the mineral that is used in the alien technology. The humans on Earth revolted, overthrew Ra's overseers, and buried the Stargate to prevent its use. Ra forbade the humans in the tribe from becoming literate, fearing another revolt. During this investigation, Jackson comes across a cartouche containing six of the seven symbols for the Stargate, but the seventh has been broken off.
That night, Ra's ship lands atop the pyramid structure, and O'Neil's men there are captured or killed by Ra's soldiers. When Jackson, O'Neil, and the other men return, they end up in a firefight against Ra's soldiers. Jackson is killed and the others captured. Ra places Jackson's body in a sarcophagus-like device that regenerates him. Ra then explains to Jackson that he has found the nuclear bomb the humans brought and has used his alien technology to increase its explosive power a hundred-fold, and threatens to send it back through the Stargate. Ra orders the human tribe to watch as he prepares to execute Jackson and the others to demonstrate his power, but Skaara and his friends create a diversion that allows Jackson, O'Neil, and the others to escape. They flee to nearby caves to hide from Ra. Skaara and his friends celebrate, and Skaara draws out a sign of victory in the sand, which Jackson recognizes as the final symbol.
O'Neil and his men aid Skaara in overthrowing the remaining overseers, and then launch an attack on Ra. Ra sends out fighter ships against the humans while he orders his ship to take off. The humans outside are forced to surrender to the fighter ships' pilots when they run out of ammo, but the rest of the tribe, having finally learned of their false gods, rebel against the pilots and overthrow them. Sha'uri is killed, but Jackson takes her body and sneaks aboard Ra's ship, using a teleportation system, leaving O'Neil to fight Ra's lead soldier. After Jackson places Sha'uri in the regeneration device. Ra discovers them, but O'Neil activates the teleportation system, killing Ra's lead soldier, and allowing Jackson and Sha'uri to escape. O'Neil realizes that Ra had rigged the bomb to prevent him from disarming it. O'Neil and Jackson decide to use the teleportation system to transport the bomb to Ra's ship. The ensuing blast destroys the ship in space. With the humans freed, the remaining team prepares to return to Earth, but Jackson tells O'Neil he plans to stay behind with Sha'uri and the others. O'Neil acknowledges Jackson's request and, with the others, enters the Stargate to return home.
Cast and characters
Kurt Russell as Colonel Jack O'Neil, a career U.S. Air Force Special Operations airman, who suffers a period of suicidal depression after his son accidentally shoots and kills himself with O'Neil's own pistol. When his commission is reactivated, he willingly enters the Stargate, fully aware that he would likely not survive to return to Earth.
James Spader as Dr. Daniel Jackson, an archaeologist and linguist, who finds little acceptance of his theory that the Great Pyramid of Giza was not built by the pharaohs of the Fourth Dynasty. Actor James Spader was intrigued by the script because he found it "awful", but he accepted the role for the money.
Jaye Davidson as Ra, a powerful alien in human form. After voyaging across the universe, searching for a new host that could sustain his dying body, Ra took the form of a curious adolescent boy and enslaved the people of his planet (Earth). Using a Stargate, he transported people from Earth to another planet (where much of the film is set) until the humans on Earth rebelled and buried their Stargate.
Alexis Cruz as Skaara, the son of Kasuf and brother of Sha'uri. Skaara and his friends aid O'Neil and his men to fight Ra.
Mili Avital as Sha'uri, the daughter of Kasuf. Kasuf offers Sha'uri to Daniel Jackson in marriage as a gift.
Erick Avari as Kasuf, the local leader of the people living in a city near the Stargate, and the father of Sha'uri and Skaara
Viveca Lindfors as Dr. Catherine Langford, the civilian leader of the Stargate project who was present when the Stargate was uncovered in Giza in 1928, where her father gave her the amulet depicting the Eye of Ra. Stargate was Viveca Lindfors' penultimate film.
Leon Rippy as Lieutenant General W. O. West, the commanding officer of the facility housing the Stargate device
John Diehl as Lt. Colonel Kawalsky, O'Neil's second-in-command
French Stewart as Lt. Ferretti, a member of O'Neil's team
Richard Kind as Dr. Gary Meyers, a doctor researching the Stargate
Rae Allen as Dr. Barbara Shore, a doctor researching the Stargate
Derek Webster as Lt. Brown, a member of O'Neil's team
Carlos Lauchu as Anubis, the captain of Ra's personal guard
Djimon Honsou (credited as Djimon) as Horus, a personal guard of Ra
Christopher John Fields as Lt. Freeman, a member of O'Neil's team
Jack Moore as Senior Airman Reilly, a member of O'Neil's team
Steve Giannelli as Lt. Porro, a member of O'Neil's team
Stargate (the Movie) Official Soundtrack (1994)